Update on COVID-19 at the Barber National Institute/Elizabeth Lee Black School

COVID-19 has profoundly affected schools across the country and around the world.

We at the Barber National Institute, Elizabeth Lee Black School are attempting to balance the educational imperative to keep our schools open and continue to implement our students’ Individual Educational Plans (IEPS) with the public health goal of keeping COVID-19 infection rates at a low level of community transmission.

After lengthy discussions on alternative instructional models, we are implementing what we believe is the best available model for our school.  We had been offering a range of educational opportunities to our families including In-person Instruction, Hybrid and Remote.  It is the decision of the families in conjunction with the IEP team as to which model works best for each student.

With the significant transmission rates in Erie County at Thanksgiving, we determined that it would be best to go remote for the two-week period following Thanksgiving. We completed the fully remote schedule and have returned to the hybrid and remote instruction. 

Although the rates remain high in Erie Country, we knew that for many of our students, remote instruction simply does not work. They may be unable to stay engaged, sit in front of a computer, have behavioral challenges, or require hands on physical or occupational therapy.  With this in mind, we are offering an alternative instructional model which we believe is the best available model for our school: Hybrid programming or fully remote should the parent so choose.

We are very fortunate that the number of students and staff diagnosed with COVID-19 has been minimal.  I attribute that to our intense focus on the implementation of our Health and Safety Plan (https://www.barberinstitute.org/uploads/Covid19%20Updates/ELBS%20Health%20and%20Safety%20Plan%209.1.20.pdf) with the goal of keeping our students and staff safe to the maximum extent possible. I will continue to update you on our status as we return from Christmas vacation.

I know that many of you have told me that you are keeping us in your prayers.  Please continue to do so. I attribute our very limited exposure to infection due to your thoughts and prayers.

Stay safe and healthy,


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